I was fortunate enough to be at the 2012 Winter Classic with Derek Snider and Rob Pizzo doing some work for theScore, and also doing some work on my liver. We shot our videos during the days, and had our nights free to drink some pints and get to know each other. It was there that I was introduced to the concept of “beerability.”
Snider did some hiring for on-air talent, and what they looked for in candidates was that very concept – would you like to sit at a pub and bury beers with this guy or gal? Would you feel comfortable just sitting there telling stories, swilling and laughing? The definition in that post:
Beerability (BEER-ah-bill-ih-tee): 1) a measurement that quantifies how much fun it would be to sit at a pub with a person and drink a bunch of beer. They should seem likable. Subjective.
2) What Bill Guerin has in spades.
I’d also like to add that, personally, I’ll take “smart guy” over “guy who seems like he could drink a lot.” Also, older players over younger players, for stories-sake.
I loved the concept so much I made it into a recurring post on Fridays. I ranked the top 10 NHLers, the top 10 coaches, the 7 players with the least beerability, I examined Rick Nash, Carter and Richards and more.
I looked back at those lists, and it’s like I didn’t even watch hockey at the time. Phil Kessel doesn’t have beerability, really Bourne? Nor does Andy Sutton? And Jarome Iginla does? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Kessel’s a hidden gem, Sutton says whatever the hell he wants (which is great), and Iginla is human beige.
So, it’s time to re-do the list.
Below, you’ll find who I believe to be the Top 10 NHLers with beerability. Add your thoughts below.
I love when players get older and start saying whatever the hell they want, like in playoffs last year when Alfie was asked if the Sens could win three straight against the Pens and he responded with “probably not.” If you can just get a smart dude like Alfie away from his family you get pics like the one above, of him with warrior-hair in a loose pony, shirtless, playing ping pong. I bet he hates a lot of people, and talking smack about people is fun. (Oh come on. Own it.)
Thornton was #1 on the original list, and seems to have fallen eight spots. Don’t consider it a slight – the list was pared down from 25 names, so he’s still getting a lot of credit here. After all, the Shit Shawn Thornton Has Said Tumblr exists for a reason.
The guy who brought us “Suck it, Phaneuf” tends to get into it with a lot of players on the ice, so I’m guessing he’s got some great stories about who he actually likes and whose head he wants to smash a full beer bottle over. He comes off as sort of smart-clownish, which I think sounds fun. I’m guessing you’d end up talking to a lot of people around you, too.
You may have noticed a trend in the type of players that seem to have beerability – the more rugged, hard-nosed dudes who aren’t afraid to get in people’s faces and say what they think. Maybe it’s because the role these guys play is more conducive to honest talk, or maybe the role is just best fit for guys who are less uptight…either way, I think Prust would be a beauty at the bar.
Two minutes after winning the Stanley Cup he called Chris Pronger the biggest idiot in the league. I’ve received my share of chirps from him, and can confirm he’s hilarious. Yes, we’ll take another round, thanks.
As the wise Scott Lewis once said “My only concern with drinking beers with Benn is that there’d be none left for anyone else.” This was my concern on the old list with Douglas Murray, which is clearly why you’d go to the pub, and not have them over.
I don’t even think I’d talk, except to prompt him Chris Farley-to-Paul McCartney style. “Do you…you like, remember when you were with the Jets, and like…you scored those…those goals, and then your gloves like…and, and that was like…AWESOME, man.” Smart guy, amazing hockey history…I’d be soaking up the words (and pints) like a sponge.
Fortunately, I’d be more comfortable around Bobby Ryan. The guy is super intelligent, totally likeable, and just has a crazy history. From his bizarre childhood (read about his “secret life” here) to his years with great players in Anaheim and everything in between, he seems like he’d be a great dude to talk to. He’s shown a great sense of humor in the past.
The only thing that wouldn’t be great about talking to one of hockey’s most interesting personalities is the fear that he’d make fun of you. He’s got some bite to ‘im. But he can be charming, and I imagine a few beers would bring that Jagr out. His stories have to be incredible. INSANE. From the love of gambling, to all those different NHL teams, to owning a team in Kladno, to just…everything. Man, that would be something.
Yes, yes it does Joe. Thornton’s long been known as one of the more hilarious dressing room dudes in the league, and with just cause. You heard what he said he’d do if he scored four goals in a game - the guy is full of quotes like that. A massively long career and a sense of humor that won’t quit…a new Thornton has taken over number one on the beerability index.
When thinking about beerability, remember something important – it’s very much “pub setting” we’re talking about here. BizNasty doesn’t make it because he has “club-ability.” Tyler Seguin, same thing (and being so young didn’t help his cause).
Before we get to your suggestions, here were the other names highly considered:
TJ Oshie, Henrik Zetterberg, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Stewart, Niklas Kronwall, Marian Hossa, Mike Rupp, Brian Boyle, Eric Nystrom, Dustin Penner, Zdeno Chara, Patrick Kane, Claude Giroux, and yes, Tyler Seguin.
So…who you got?